At a press conference at Belém Palace, in Lisbon, with the President of Hungary, Katalin Novák - who is on a state visit to Portugal -, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed that the demographic situation was precisely one of the aspects discussed at the meeting between the two heads of state.
“European statistics on the aging of Europe have just come out, and I must admit that the statistics are penalising for Portugal: after Italy, which has an average age of 48 years, there is Portugal, with an average age of 46.8 years, getting worse over the last few years”, he stressed.
For the President of the Republic, “this is not just a Portuguese problem, it is not just a problem in Western Europe or Central Europe”, despite already being “a concern in Eastern Europe”.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa defended that, when addressing issues such as “inflation or the social consequences”, one should not “stop looking at wider horizons” and considered that the demographic challenge must be addressed when thinking about the “future of Europe”.
“Do we want a Europe that is a Europe of peace, in compliance with international law, and therefore a just peace? Do we want a Europe that recovers economically, do we want a Europe that is socially fair, that gives opportunities to young people? This has to do with demographics,” he said.
At the press conference, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa addressed Katalin Novák, describing her as a “dear friend” and stating that it was “a pleasure and an honour” for Portugal to receive the “youngest Hungarian President and first female President of Hungary”.
“We, the Portuguese, still haven't had a woman [President] and her age beats by far practically the age of all the presidents of Portuguese democracy”, he said.
Marcelo stressed that Portugal has “very old, very friendly and very warm” relations with Hungary and recalled that the two countries belong to the United Nations, the European Union, and NATO, but also to the Arraiolos Group, created by former President Jorge Sampaio.